Government offers firms new lifeline grants to survive lockdown

Rishi Sunak

Businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure will receive new grants to help them keep afloat until spring, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said.

The grants will be worth up to £9,000 per property, the Treasury says.

The help is in addition to business rates relief and the extended furlough scheme which has been extended until the end of April.

Separately, £594m will be made available to affected firms outside these sectors, Mr Sunak said.

In total, the package of measures is worth £4.6bn.

The news came after ministers were warned last night that the new national lockdown would cause widespread business failures and job losses unless government support for businesses was urgently increased.

Leading business groups said that whilst they supported the latest efforts to bring the virus under control, but they called for a series of measures including more cash grants and an extension of business rates relief.

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said that the support on offer was “plainly insufficient” and that the level of cash grants was “off the mark by an order of magnitude”.

He said that the latest lockdown would “cause widespread business failure and job loss unless support is provided on an equal scale to these unprecedented curbs on economic freedom”.